Monday Meal Review: Nauru

After a few minutes of rummaging through the kitchen, I find a plastic bottle in the refrigerator door, half full of water. The bottle is from Ava’s trip to the zoo a couple of weeks ago and is covered with tigers, zebras, and lions. Apparently, it’s the only bottle in the house.

I remove the lid and slowly begin to fill it with iced coffee.

For an odd, fleeting moment, I find myself wishing I had more plastic bottles laying around to use. I shake my head at the silliness.

“What are you doing, mama?” Ava asks, standing on tiptoe to peer over the counter. Her head is now a good few inches above the counter, growing taller every day.

“This is a grownup drink enjoyed in Nauru, made with coffee and milk,” I say, and offer her a tall glass of milk so she doesn’t feel left out.

They drink their iced coffee out of old water bottles” I say. “It helps them make less trash.”

Ava’s eyes gets big.

“It’s good to use things more than once, if you can. To reuse things.”

“Like my purple bathing suit?”

I give her a hug and laugh. But she’s right, too.

“Sure! Imagine if you threw out your bathing suit every time you wore it. How weird would that be?”

Explaining the three “R’s” of recycling to my daughter feels so grown up. And perhaps a little abstract.

I want her to know about it, though, and Nauru seems as good a time as ever. At only 8 square miles, Nauru uses a lot of bottles. 20,000 per month (according to the Nauru Country Study Guide by Ibp USA). That’s 240,000 bottles a year. According to the same study, about 10% of the bottles are used to sell water or iced coffee.

When you live in a large country – so large you can’t see end to end unless sitting on top of the moon, it’s easy to lose track of why recycling matters. This week we can thank Nauru for giving us a fresh dose of perspective.

Share it, if you’d like. Reuse it,even!

Nauru’s Iced Coffee [Recipe]

What I loved most about this drink:

The cold-brew method is totally fantastic. The flavor is smooth and robust without a trace of bitterness. I also love adding a half ton of milk, which is very typical of Nauru. I’ll be drinking a decaf version of this all summer long.

What I loved least about this drink:

I had two …. not so ideal … tasters for this drink. A child who can’t drink coffee and a man who loathes coffee. To his credit, Mr. Picky sipped it twice before pushing it my way and saying “no thanks.” When I asked him what he thought of it he said, rather dryly, “like coffee.” Apparently all the sugar and milk in the world won’t make him like coffee.

Grilled Island Fries [Recipe]

What I loved most about this dish:

This was grand fun – we’ve already done it several times and have thoroughly enjoyed the fries. They taste like hearty steak fries and are great with anything – we can confirm not only the coconut crusted fish, but the wonderful Grilled Tuna Steaks with Garlic and Butter from East Timor which we ate on Father’s Day weekend.

What I loved least about this dish:

Nothing. They are fantastic. Please keep in mind this is not a crispy fry, but more like those thick, soft steak fries you get in restaurants (with the bonus, of course, of loads of great char flavor). Yumm. Be sure to add plenty of salt, pepper, and oil so they don’t stick (I had no issues with sticking)

Coconut Crusted Fish [Recipe]

What I loved most about this dish:

This fish recipe so fantastically easy to make and, as an added bonus, introduced my family to a new kind of fish. Pacific Rockfish is so much nicer than many fishes we’ve tried, and is quite similar to cod (which, having been born on Cape Cod, is a personal favorite). This cooks up quick and tastes like summer. This was a favorite across the board. Ava gobbled it up as did I … and Mr Picky tried to eat some of ours he liked it so much.

What I loved least about this dish:

Nothing. Feel free to vary it up and add some heat with extra spices if you’d like but I really think this is aces just as it is.

Ava’s Corner


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